Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Division and defrocking because of same-sex wedding

Religious practices change all the time—just ask Catholics who celebrated mass in Latin until the 1960s or Protestant groups that started ordaining women as ministers in the 1970s. But are there certain core beliefs that can never change? 
Former Methodist minister Frank Schaefer on the division within the United Methodist Church (UMC) says:
"The church is really trying to sweep this under the rug and we're pretending we're all united, we're the United Methodist Church after all." 
For many years now several debates have gone on about celibacy and about intercourse with people of the other and of the same sex.

Conservative theologians within the United Methodist Church argue that Schaefer's defrocking was justified because church law, by definition, must be upheld — otherwise, it is not a church law. They maintain that homosexuals are welcome in the church, but that one should abstain from the practice of homosexuality. 

Schaefer says there was "no way in Hell" he would have declined when he was asked to ordain his son's same-sex wedding in 2007. "I saw it as an act of love," says Schaefer.  Others within the church saw it as an act of rebellion. 
“The ultimate debate is not over sexuality—it’s just one battle flag issue in the current culture wars that’s been going on in the last 150 years between traditionalist and liberal revisionists,”
says Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative Christian think-tank in Washington, D.C.UMC is experiencing a split in opinion on gay marriage.

Read more about it in: Religious Hoi Polloi
Matt Rourke/Associated Press
The Rev. Frank Schaefer with his wife after meeting with Methodist leaders on Thursday.
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